The past two days I’ve been in an intensive crash course on how to be a school board member. Given I have a ton of house guests coming this weekend it was not optimal timing but I am very glad I went.
There was one quote that truly resonated; “being on a school board is never what you expected”. I’m getting the impression that is very true. In some ways I think it will be easier, I was expecting to do more ‘work’ and really, the board is supposed to keep a broad view, an eye on goals and hold the superintendent and staff accountable. I vaguely thought it would be like the Parent Teacher Organization supersized.
After many many hours of seminars, there was really nothing super NEW or truly surprising but it was an exercise in gaining more clarity. Like the difference between learning algebra and then seeing why algebra exists in higher math. Now I see much more clearly the role a board needs to play. Seeing is one thing, the next step is doing.
The negative note for the situation though is that I may have irrevocably traded in my ‘cool helpful parent’ role in my kid’s school. I joined the board to have a positive involvement in their lives and I might have just created a situation where their teachers will never quite know how to deal with me. If any teacher is reading this; my plan is to do my very very best to be a normal mom when in the schools for my kids and only wear the board hat if asked. By the way, the board seems to have very few magical powers so I can’t say I’ll be able to pull out any rabbits for anyone.
Last week was very very busy and I hardly got near my computer to say what was going on in life. It was the first week of the winter schedule with choir and gymnastics and while all the children love their respective activities they are across town from each other and at nearly the same time. It was also the week I got officially sworn onto the board so that was a fun event. Inbetween I actually got myself to the gym, and, we dove into the final battle with the boxes by infiltrating the storage room stronghold. I also managed to get our massive window covered in curtains and I can’t seem to take a good picture of it but it’s done. It does cut down on the crazy loudness of the room and the sun in the face by TV situation some minor parties in the house have been disgruntled by. Personally, I liked to see their solutions, you can’t not laugh at them sitting with pillows, blankets, or stuffed animals balanced on their heads to block the sun in their eyes. Life didn’t slow down on the weekend and this week made last week look easy because I had to call in my support team to help with the kid needs while I went and drank from the firehose of learning.
It is a great sort of busy and I feel like this is going to be a good phase of life. Great start to 2019.
It was a coin flip to either talk about our epic journey back to MN, or, check in on the house. For the record, we arrived on Sunday around 6 and after dinner, we went to go check the house because I could not wait longer!
Current Status; We have PAINT. The painful decisions of paint color and location made with consults both near and far turned out great. The stairs are also in! Trim and cabinets continue to get installed/finished. Flooring prep work underway. (me) 15 of 27 lights procured, chosen exterior stone, doors, and siding finally confirmed for the 4th time
Next; (me) buy more light fixtures, knobs for all the things (81 total). (them) floors, cabinet install finish, get the driveway and patio soon and all the fixtures come soon.
Status; 775 of 1000 – still no toilets! paint and stairs make a big impact but the fun finishes are coming soon.
We got 3 colors included in our quote, that is actually a decent number when you think about a more monochrome and cohesive design style. We choose Agreeable Gray, Dover White, and Navy for our main floor and public spaces upstairs and each of us choose a bedroom color. It was $100 per color but it was also a way for the kids to really love the move and be ‘ok’ with all the chaos coming in their near future. My designer friend advised taking their choice and subtracting 2 numbers to get a lighter tone and I only had to do that for Niamh – she went for a really really strong pink but it looks much better two shades lighter.
Fiona actually really liked the color I choose for my room ‘secure blue’ so in her opinion she picked our room color and I’m ok with her thinking that since it saved $100, and, I obviously like the color.
Somehow I didn’t get a picture of the front hall in navy but it came out very sharp with the white trim. I also neglected to take pictures of the vast spaces now painted gray or white but I did get a close up of the stain color “Koa” chosen half because we wanted it to stand out against our medium dark floors and half because it reminds me of Hawaii.
We also got back on track with selections and trecked up to the stone showroom to choose our exterior stone and address stone. It was an easy decision because thanks to my designer friend I actually have a good idea of what to do with the exterior. In brief; pick one color and one accent and stick to it – do not go crazy with all the color options of siding.
Finally, it is hard to take pictures of stairs but here is what I could do. Imagine them without protective paper.
I’m getting a little tired of the process, the builders work is great but their system is very scattered and I’m constantly following up or reconfirming something I thought was set. The story of the siding is annoying and long and I hope ends well, we will see… There is one vendor I just don’t like at this point because she is so disorganized but small price to pay for the amount of custom work we are getting. I’ll be on top of them again since I’m back and other than parenting, a 1-weekend camping trip and packing this house up, I’ve got nothing else to focus on.
We have cabinets!
I also picked colors and fingers crossed they will look good.
I’m going to ny so no pictures for a week but by the time I’m back I expect siding and maybe even flooring. There was a pile of wood that will become stairs so fingers crossed! 9 weeks to move in, the list is still long but working through it.
Current status; As of yesterday we have framing and floor and the start to plumbing and hvac
Next; Plumbing for sure because they somehow have to connect all our bathrooms to water etc and they are not all neatly stacked so they get first dibs on the between floor real estate. In an epic battle for limited space, the HVAC is sneaking around between the floors and walls too. Electric goes ‘last’ because wires are skinny and they can snake around the other systems.
Status; 500 of 1000 We really might be half way there! The big things are well in hand but I know the devil is in the details.
Last week was a personal black hole where I poured effort in and got not much out. That never makes me feel good so I try and huddle up and don’t do things like blog. Fortunately, the builders seem happy and they are chugging right along. Before I get to the pictures – funny story time!
…. During showings, I like to go visit the new house. Saturday I had the kids and we drove over there and we saw 2 cars, one parked on the street and the other pulled up to the garage. I warned the kids that maybe someone was working and we get in there and given that there is no sheetrock it was pretty easy to spot the young couple and walrus of a man. None of them looked like inspectors or electricians… There is no containing 3 kids so they swarm away to see what was new since last time (a lot for them, it had been a week) and I go over and say “Hi! are you here for the builders?” and they say “No, this home is listed on the MLS, we are looking at it”. I glance at the paper in their hand that if they READ it carefully said that the listing was for a ‘build to suit’ and even if they couldn’t read, the only resemblance to the house they were standing in and the house in the picture was that it has walls, door, windows and a roof (basically nothing else was the same), so, I told them (cheerfully) “oh, you probably are one lot off, that listing is for the other open lot next door and I pointed at the very prominant ‘for sale’ sign on the cornfield to our left. The walrus insisted “Well it is listed…” but he trailed off in the face of actual reality. The women, who was super cute in a hipster sort of way remarked that “I really liked it, great land and I love all the bedrooms upstairs; when it is finished it would be totally worth the price!” Given that we had the same ‘build to suit’ listing in hand 6 months ago I knew the answer to this question but I asked anyway “so, how much is it listed for?” Walrus replied “$xxx” and that is a perfectly good price for the house shown in the picture that is HALF the size of the one we are building so I burst her bubble and said “oh sorry, this house is $xyz x2, and, we are already buying it – the lot next door though is pretty nice and our builders are great….” As dim understanding crossed her eyes that no, you can’t get that much house for that much money in this area she gave a smile and a wan goodbye and left with her crushed dreams trailing behind. Husband was silent and Walrus just huffed a little and they wandered off out the house. Maybe they looked at the field next door? Maybe not.
During all that, the girls have found their favorite feature of house building – the giant pile of dirt in the yard. They love it, they dig, they climb, they have adventurous stories and I easily spent the hour poking around the new developments and taking pictures for future reference of where studs are and where vents are etc.
I also had to take a picture of this – I’m not sure if I should be scared that there are so many little ‘corrections’ noted around the house, or, impressed that someone is checking all these things out and highlighting them. I’m going to go with impressed (and amused, there is a certain dry humor in some of the notes…)
As promised, here is the framing – it is semi hard to explain much because it is mostly a sea of 2x4s in a picture but here is one (I won’t bore you with them all)
And finally, a different view of the house, this is from the back yard. That long blank wall is going to need ‘something’ Any suggestions? The yard is also very very NOT private – funny, when it was full of corn taller than I was we didn’t notice – so also looking for privacy suggestions for between the house and the road (behind me).
In my ‘work life’ of social media I end up seeing and creating sooooo many quotes and memes that this is a semi-hard challenge. The other hard part is picking 3×3 bloggers to tag so I took some time to think and I’m ready for the challenge.
Rules; Thank the person who challenged you, post a quote, tag 3 others, for 3 days in a row.
Thanks to my blog friend in Ireland who tagged me. Fancy Paper posts are always fun and a glimpse into mom (or mum) life in a different country. Its pretty much the same with some key differences and that is the thing I love about the blog world – genuine looks into the story of the lives of real people.
Quote; It is Always Darkest before the Dawn
Chosen half because it is in a song stuck in my head, half because I’m in a semi-constant state of anxiety about one house or another. I trust a dawn will come. It always has in the past.
Tagging; This is the hard part, I’ve had some poor luck with this part of a challenge before. I am picking a trio that I read all the time and I hope will accept.
- Webner House – a Dad in Ohio with some cool thoughts on things.
- With Love Kate – a fellow Kate I found when we were both pregnant with #3 and I love her journey and decorating style and general can-do attitude.
- Home sweet Abbott – a new blogger who just got married and is building a house with a ‘due date’ about the same as ours. Her building posts are fun to line up with mine because just like parenting and pregnancy and work etc – we are mostly the same but just a key difference or 3.
I hope to get 3 in 3 days here. I at least have more downtime with the house in ready to sell mode all I need to do is maintain and be ready to leave at a moments notice. Good thing I have a laptop and a phone and a nice car to sit in. Cross fingers for the showing this afternoon, I have a feeling this might be the right one.
This year Easter is early, and, right in the last 3 miles of the marathon of getting this house ready. The goal is Wednesday. Truly the goal is Tuesday night so Wednesday all I need to do is a tidy after they depart for school and then hold my breath until it is sold.
I’m sure you all have experienced the chaos that is the third quarter of a project, everything is torn up and you have been working and working and still, it looks 10x worse than when you started? That was our Friday and Saturday. Sunday, we started to actually pull it back together and our house is getting truly ‘done’.
Friends convinced me I did not need to change every doorknob, at least not yet…
I convinced Lars we HAD to either repaint the master or color match it so I could touch up three spots that look like the size of Africa to me but in reality are the comparative size of Fiji. He dutifully went to home depot 2x to get paint and now I’m painting my house with a tiny paintbrush. The Lars list is very long, he has done so much I just don’t put it all here. There was a time on Friday that I couldn’t help thinking how well we actually work together on big stressful projects as our storage trip was suddenly our mini date.
We finally finished the painting in the 2 rooms we were repainting and then I facetimed with my family while scrubbing the trim and floors to get all the tiny paint spots clean. Good thing Magic Erasers were on sale last week, I’ve disintegrated 4 already between walls and floors.
In the breaks between cleaning, we did a little thing called Easter. It was very mellow for us this year and I’m pretty glad it actually fell on April Fools. In the end I handled lack of traditional baskets (in storage) with 3 decorative boxes and then I hid them in the closet and made them a giant basket of socks. Zoe was first up and exploring and found the fake basket and remarked: “at least there is some candy” and then the clever girl found a bag of trash. The living room was early on the hit list so it is pretty clean and decluttered overall and I forgot to dispose of the evidence of basket treats and Zoe found it. Don’t worry, she still believes, maybe even more now because she considered it a mix of a trick and a clue that there were REAL easter baskets somewhere. I’m pretty proud of the way this shook out and I got to hear the sounds of joy when they found them.
This year, due to snow, we hid eggs in the house. Growing up we nearly always had indoor egg hunts but this is the first year weather was bad so it was a new twist for our kids. I think we had about 150 eggs and 3 kids so for a solid 20min they were searching. Easy ones were passed 100 times, hard ones found instantly, in the end, we might be short 2 real eggs but I bet I’ll find them since my plan is to super clean. I did find 4 missed plastic eggs that afternoon cleaning the bookshelf, they were pretty well hidden.
Easter food focused on just the 5 of us. We had a breakfast guest who also witnessed the egg hunt and then helped with the house and then went home again. Pancakes for breakfast, Lox and bagels for lunch, and Rack of Lamb with homemade french fries and asparagus for dinner. Niamh made a pie, two actually, but that is another story. I’m just glad she is interested in cooking.
Some things I planned did happen, others didn’t, but I think the weekend went pretty well. The kids entertained themselves mostly and helped a bit. They are old enough to all shower solo and understand that “mommy is a bit stressed right now”. By the end I felt like I had spent hours at the gym when all I did was move furniture, scrub floors/walls/trim, wash windows and pick up and move a million little things to either the trash, its home, or a box for storage.
Today the plan is to stop doing new projects and continue pulling it all together again. We have a contractor coming to power wash and do a few minor outside things. I have a meeting on the new house to pick plumbing. Lars is back to work and the kids are back to school. I feel bad about not doing my normal holiday reach out to friends but I’m sure everyone will understand. By next week I’ll be in maintenance mode only and while that won’t be nothing it sure won’t be the job it is to get to the ‘show ready’ we nearly are.